Real Estate Gossip - April 2003

By staff April 1, 2003

The Virtue of Patience

Annette Rogers knows that sometimes a realtor simply has to bide her time until the right buyer happens along. For nearly two years Rogers held an open house for a beautiful Bird Key home listed at $2.475 million. The property featured waterfalls, a disappearing-edge pool and a floor plan with master suite separated from the other three bedrooms. And then one afternoon a buyer walked through the door with his three children and pronounced the home perfect. "He loved everything, right down to the colors of the tile," says Rogers. "It does seem as though this house was custom built for his family. But now what will I do with my Sunday afternoons?"

Art lovers may be interested in Rogers' newest listing in the sought-after Sanderling Club. Former home to Sarasota gallery owners, the residence was created to enhance any collection and is itself a piece of art, featuring the clean contemporary design of architect Guy Peterson warmed by beautiful wood trim in yellow pine and birch with ash floors. Swaying palms and white sand enhance the 200-plus feet of Gulf frontage and there are water views from every window. This property is offered at $1,495,000.

Lido "Spec" Mansions

Agent Kim Ogilvie has seen buyers snub Sarasota for lack of grandeur, taking their business to Palm Beach and Naples in search of waterfront mansions and lavish estates. "Top-end buyers came to us but we just did not have the product to show them," she says. "Sarasota lacked homes of that scale." But no more. Currently, Ogilvie has multiple properties on Westway Drive replete with razzle and sure to dazzle. Sandcastles of Sarasota is completing its break-out spec home featuring 7,500 square feet of living space and another 4,500 in covered loggias and piazzas for $9 million. Ogilvie says Sandcastle has spent more money per square foot on this project than any spec house ever built in the area, including hiring the prestigious design firm of Romanza to furnish the interiors in pure luxury. "The selections and finishes are all top-of-the-line, says Ogilvie, "and the furniture is fantastic." And the view beyond is intoxicating. "When you walk in the front door, all the eye can see is water," says Ogilvie. "The effect is similar to being on the deck of a cruise ship. The sensation is wonderful." The house is slated for completion in August.

.Also on Lido


Lido's Dream Street

Just down the street on Lido's Westway Drive, experience a taste of the French Quarter in a Renaissance masterpiece complete with authentic New Orleans gas lights, Italian fountains and marble staircase. This four-story Lido Shores home has been lovingly decorated with European overtones of fairy-tale quality. Owners Mac and Charlotte Vick are leaving Sarasota and offering their two-acre estate on the Gulf of Mexico for sale. From the beveled glass doors to the multiple loggias and sunrooms, this home is elegantly furnished and offers gated security. Listing agent Ogilvie says the place is built like a fortress with poured concrete reinforced with steel. And then there is the 360-degree view. "Look toward downtown to see the city skyline sparkling against the water and then you turn and look up the coast forever," she says. The house is priced at $16.75 million, and Ogilvie has every reason to believe it will not last. "Buyers just snapped up a house on Westway for $11 million, and we are fielding calls right and left," she says. "Lido's dream street has put Sarasota on the map."

Foreign Buyers

Lois Bennett of Coldwell Banker can vouch for Sarasota's international appeal. Her recent clients have included a Hungarian tennis pro, a couple from China and buyers relocating from Toronto. "My tennis pro bought a wonderful villa and wrote me a thank-you note touting our friendly and beautiful service," says Bennett. "The Chinese couple ultimately purchased a lot in Turtle Rock so they could build a home, but they struggled mightily to understand the concept of private property. In China, individuals do not own land, and this concept was totally amazing. And the Canadians are my best success story. I sold them a modest home in Sarasota. They built an office furniture supply business here and worked very, very hard. Today, they own private planes; and I recently sold them another home with a $1-million price tag. They absolutely love it here."

Umbrella For Sale

Modernist architect Paul Rudolph's famed umbrella house is for sale on Lido Shores, offering buyers a rare opportunity to live within a work of art. This two-story, nine-level structure was built in 1953 and remains an icon of American modernism. The property includes beach access, privacy wall, swimming pool and exotic plantings. Priced at $1,200,000.

Tile Fancy

Another landmark property, a pink vine-covered castle in Oyster Bay, is listed for sale for $1,650,000 by Laura Hansen of Michael Saunders & Company. Architect Phil Skirball meticulously researched historical homes to find the perfect woodwork detailing and old world tile from the Ringling era. One of the first prospective buyers to walk through the door looked around and remarked that she loved the floor plan but would have to rip out all that "old tile."

Just in Time

Candy Swick recently sold a house just hours before foreclosure proceedings began and breathed a huge sigh of relief to close the deal. "I jokingly refer to this property as Snow White's place because everything in the house is white," says Swick. "White tile, white window treatments, white cabinets, white appliances. No pots or pans in the kitchen, just plastic plates and forks, in white, of course." Swick's sellers were embroiled in a knock-down, drag-out divorce proceeding and neglected to pay their mortgage for an extended period of time. The castle is currently undergoing massive decorating renovations for the new prince and princess. Here's to a happier ending.

In the Pink

A client of Sandy Strom's asked to see property on Siesta Key with one requirement-nothing in pink. "He told me he hated a pink house and would not set foot inside," says Strom. "This instantly produced an awkward moment, since I had already invited them over for dinner and my own house is pink." Apologies were made and the dinner was a success. Two days later, he discovered his dream home on a quiet lagoon surrounded by palms and flowering plants and made an offer. Naturally, the house was flamingo pink.

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